A young woman torn between her Irish roots and American upbringing is the only hope for a small village cursed by a mischievous imp.
The village of Kilricton is plagued by an imp, a malicious spirit tied to an ancient jug, whose exploits will consume the town in fire. Squire Fallon, the owner of the jug and Castle Kilrick, fights the imp to the point of madness and eventually death while his friend Patrick O’Conner is cursed to physically shrink for helping him. Kilricton’s last resort is a scheme to rid themselves of the imp by getting Fallon’s granddaughter Meg, who left Ireland long ago for America, to come and take the jug away, thus freeing them from the creature’s tyranny. But Meg is not immune to the imp’s magic and, upon arriving, is possessed by it and a brash alter ego named Megine who has no desire to leave the castle and seems resolved to stay until the town’s eventual, unfortunate end. The Sheas’ book is a unique tale rooted in Irish folklore but with undertones of a screwball comedy, creating a charming throwback to two bygone eras. Adapted by Sandra J. Shea from a screenplay cowritten with her husband James K. Shea (best known for directing the 1978 cult film Planet of the Dinosaurs), the story’s origins as a script are obvious, particularly where the straightforward, no-frills present tense that is the hallmark of screenwriting appears. The book’s greatest strength is its humor—chiefly the interactions of the enjoyable and animated cast of characters in the town—but even this undercuts the story’s tone at times, as it’s never entirely clear how serious the threat of the imp is, or why the reader would want Meg, Patrick and the others to triumph when the mischief it causes is so entertaining.
Ultimately unsure of what it wants to be—a movie or a novel, a comedy or a drama.